Garage doors have become a convenient with garage door openers and remote entry. These modern features help you save a lot of time getting in and out of your house when you consider a garage door is opened an average of 1,500 times a year1. The torsion spring has a life cycle of 10,000 repetitions, so after that point it is just a matter of time before a repair will be needed. This part is essential to counterbalance the weight of the door to make it significantly easier to open. Due to the torsion spring, the garage door opener only needs less than one horsepower.
There are three mechanisms used by garage door openers: chain, belt or screw. Chain-drive openers have been around the longest and are fairly robust, but they are loud. Belt-drive openers are similar to chain drives but are more expensive. The big advantage is this option is much quieter. Screw-drive openers are the middle ground of price and noise level, but they do require a little bit more maintenance.
Included in modern garage door opener system’s is a spring reverse, optical eye and manual detach. The spring reverse from hitting a solid object and the manual release were required by federal law starting in 19822. In 1993 started requiring garage doors to include an optical eye to detect obstructions in the path of the door no higher than 6 inches off the ground.
Garage Door Maintenance Checklist
Routine maintenance will keep the garage door operating smoothly and safely. There are a lot of mechanics involved in the process and it is important to stay ahead of problems.
- Visually inspect all of the fasteners, brackets and cables. Look for brackets pulling away from the wall and fraying on cables. Replace suspect parts.
- Test the automatic reverse by placing a sturdy object (e.g. wooden board) in the path of the door and push the close button. If this works, try the test again but this time try stopping the door with your arms outstretched while you are standing. You should be able to force it back up with your own strength. If it is too difficult, there is usually a small force screw on the back of the garage door opener that needs to adjusted.
- Clean the photoelectric eye sensors every month. Then test the feature by placing an object in the path of the sensors and attempting to close the door. It should stop almost immediately.
- Test the manual override by activating it and moving the garage door back and forth a little.
- Apply a small amount of spray lubrication to the hinges, rollers and tracks twice a year.
- Tighten down any loose fasteners.
References: 1 – Popular Mechanics 2 – Wikipedia